A lot of people have at least one coffee mug in their home. However, chances are likely that they’re using a subpar product for their morning pick-me-up: cheap, machine-made ceramics. Handcrafted stoneware coffee mugs are the superior experience for anyone needing something to hold their drink. Although there are countless reasons why that’s the case, we’re here to break down the top five.
1. There’s a Mug for Every Taste
With more than 75 color options and and dozens of different shapes and styles, there are over 1,000 possible combinations at Sunset Hill Stoneware alone. No matter what mood you wake up with or how much coffee you need on any given morning, there’s likely a mug to match it.
Furthermore, how the glaze turns out on each mug can vary from batch to batch. While maintaining the same basic color and size standards we adhere to for quality, some shades may come out slightly different. The dip lines on two-tone glazes might go farther, or have spots. Mug collectors have come to love this.
Sunset Hill Stoneware has a collector’s group on Facebook. The sheer variety in the sizes and colors of coffee mugs we find from collectors, from coffee roasting enthusiasts to history buffs at America’s national parks, is astounding. There truly is a stoneware coffee mug for everyone, and everyone has a favorite.
2. Stoneware Coffee Mugs Keep Your Drinks Warmer, Longer
Whether you’re a coffee drinker, a tea person or one of those unusual few who can survive without caffeine and just enjoy hot cocoa, stoneware coffee mugs keep your drinks warmer, longer. Where some lesser-made ceramic mugs let their contents cool after 10 minutes, stoneware can warm your favorite beverage for 20 minutes or longer in some cases. Some of us have even left a fresh cup of coffee sitting out on the counter to walk the dog for 30 minutes, only to return to java that was still warm.
The reason comes down to science.
Unlike most printed mugs you’ll find at big-box stores, the walls on stoneware mugs are thick with natural clay. This thick, dense structure retains heat longer, so you can keep enjoying the drink of your choice. By contrast, most ceramic coffee cups have walls that are less than 1 centimeter thick. Heat can escape through the tops of the walls easily.
We’ve put this theory to the test before, using a non-stoneware mug as the control group. During every round, we measured the heat on the surface of both mugs with a temperature gun to compare their results. Each time, whether it was with water in the microwave or beaten eggs in the oven, the stoneware retained its temperature more than twice as long in most cases.
The only place where the stoneware mug wasn’t hotter than its ceramic counterpart was also the most crucial: the handle. Where the handle on our control group mug registered over 130° F, our stoneware handle was a cool 80° F. It’s the clear safer choice every time.
3. The Designs Won’t Fade
Typically, the mugs you’ll find in stores or cheap promotional products have screen printed designs. While these designs can capture a lot of details and virtually any color the screen printer can produce, they don’t last through more than a few years of regular use. In some cases, the design might even fade after two or three wash cycles.
This is why stoneware mugs make the best custom promotional products on the market. Unlike their printed porcelain counterparts, we set all of our stoneware designs in white clay. Once they’ve been through a few firing cycles in the kiln, they’re set in stone and won’t fade or chip off after enduring too many cycles in the dishwasher.
On that note, stoneware is also ideal for promotional coffee mugs. Using clay medallions, pottery producers like Sunset Hill Stoneware can capture artwork of all types in intricate detail. Possible designs run the gamut from simple logos for local utility companies to capturing the likeness of Victorian-era bed and breakfasts down to the details on the shingles. Regardless of the designs needed, when businesses use stoneware coffee mugs, they’re setting their brand in stone.
4. They’re Microwave, Oven and Dishwasher Safe
One of the most common questions we get from mug enthusiasts asks whether Sunset Hill Stoneware’s mugs are dishwasher safe. The short answer is, yes. They’re also safe in the microwave and oven.
The long answer is that our promotional coffee mugs go through two firing cycles in our kilns, typically reaching temperatures over 2,000° F. This turns the glaze on the outside to glass, or vitrifies it, sealing the clay. Thanks to these high firing temperatures, you could theoretically keep your mug in 500° F oven for hours. We don’t know why you would want to do that—perhaps you’re making boeuf bourguignon for one in a mug. But, you can rest assured that you can make almost any treat without risking the mug breaking.
Whether you want to make brownies, an omelet, macaroni and cheese or any of your other favorite treats, stoneware is the only choice for making sure they’re piping hot and evenly cooked.
5. They’re Built to Last
Legend has it that our mugs have survived after a fire burned a customer’s business down years ago. While some of the details of this story have been lost to time, the image of the sooty but otherwise undamaged mugs still sticks with us.
Disasters aside, stoneware collectors still find mugs from our earliest days in thrift stores. It’s a testament to the durability of our product. By design, stoneware coffee mugs can last a lifetime, or potentially even longer. They make for a durable way to enjoy almost any beverage while retaining their color and artistic details potentially forever.
Although not all of the mugs you own right now may be stoneware, chances are that those will outlast every other ceramic coffee cup around them. Thanks to their ability to retain heat and capture detail for a full range of artistic designs and tastes, stoneware should be your only choice for coffee mugs.